Being one of the old world restaurants, Bombay Brasserie is a behemoth of a dining room, fitting in no less than 300 covers. The dining room in spite of its recent refurbishment to give it the visage of a grand Parisian restaurant stands out like a sore thumb as soon as one picks up the menu; there is just no harmony between the sound and style of food offered and the room it is served in. The menu, straight out of the 1970’s, feels like it should be served in one of the several impostors masquerading as restaurants on Brick Lane.
We decided to begin with TRIO OF VEGETARIAN SPECIALS that were described as ‘an irresistible assortment of Paneer Soola, Sev Batata Puri and Subz Tikki’. Now I’m still wondering what it was in the dish that made it so irresistible as I clearly missed it. Three very bland and greasy nibbles didn’t quite make the mark whilst DUCK SHIKAMPURI fared slightly better in terms of flavour, but wasn’t as the menu described, ‘stuffed with yoghurt, mint and chillies’. Nor did the kebab come with any yoghurt, mint or chillies, or any other accompaniment for that matter. Not a whiff of pickle or a smear of chutney. Just a soft, dry, grey duck kebab. Bah!
Moving on, we thought of giving the KEBAB PLATTER a try. This too was supposed to be an irresistible collection of Tandoori Chicken’, Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Prawn and Kalimiri Chicken Tikka. This selection too, came without any yoghurt, chutney, pickle or even a sliver of onion and to have two bits of dry (but flavoursome, luckily) chicken on a platter of 4 items seems to be a bit of a ‘I feel cheated’ situation. Moving on the curries, our first downer was a GOA HALIBUT CURRY that was void of any flavours even philosophically linking the dish to Goa. A bowl of red sauce with boiled fish. CHICKEN XACUTI, another Goan speciality would have embarrassed even the most broad-minded of Goan epicureans. The description of the dish stated it was a ‘curry made from several rare spices’, which it clearly wasn’t, and nor is it traditionally made from any rare spices. By way of consolation, the SMOKED EGGPLANT we had was delicious!
As we also found out from the manager, the restaurant used to regularly feed 200 people or more on most nights before the glamouring refurbishment after which the menu also changed and the diners dropped like flies. Seems to me that there’s a problem that’s been identified, noted and could be solved. The way things are right now, really doesn’t bode well for the future of one of London’s oldest Indian restaurants.